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Expert Review

Yamaha Tracer 700 Sports Tourer (2016 - ) review

Adventure-styled, sport-touring version of the perky and value-packed MT-07 twin follows in the successful footsteps of its three-cylinder Tracer 900 bigger brother. It’s an equally compelling package.

The Auto Trader expert verdict:

4.3

Available new from £7,150

The base MT-07 twin already offered plenty of novice-friendly bang for your buck in a bare-bones, roadster package. This new half-faired version is every bit as fun, almost as affordable, yet hugely more versatile and long-legged: a mini-Multistrada if you like. It’s a little budget in places, but a great bike at a great price.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickNimble and idiot-proof handling allied to perky engine
  • tickFar more versatile and long-legged than base MT-07
  • tickGreat value

At a glance:

Design

A lesson in how to make a great bike better still.
A lesson in how to make a great bike better still. The base MT-07 roadster twin has proved one of Yamaha’s greatest hits of recent years, with its bold style, an exciting yet novice-friendly ride, and a brilliant price. The Tracer has managed to build on that with added practicality (fairing, bigger tank etc.), without losing the original appeal. Truly a bike for all reasons, if a little angular and quirky in places.
Expert rating: 4/5

Riding position

It’s a little more upright and roomy than its MT-07 little brother, thanks to different bars/pegs and a larger fuel tank. The result is classic upright ‘adventure style’, but with an added sporting edge. Better still, the Tracer 700 is also still a slim, lightweight novice-friendly machine, but now with the full-size appeal of a much larger machine – the very best of both worlds in fact.
Expert rating: 5/5

Practicality

They don’t come much better.
They don’t come much better: easy to ride, nimble and brisk means the Tracer is a great town bike, but it’s also comfortable and with enough weather protection to be a decent long-haul machine, too. Fit some half decent luggage and it’s a bargain-priced, do-it-all, go-anywhere machine. The only one we can think of that beats it is Honda’s NC750X, complete with in ‘tank’ luggage compartment and clever auto-‘box.
Expert rating: 5/5

Performance & braking

Following the financial crash of 2008, Yamaha’s revival has been centred around its MT family of modular twins and threes. The 900cc, ’09 triple, impressed first with its zest, punch and versatility, but the twin-cylinder, 700cc chip off its block that followed is arguably even better still. First placed in the MT-07 roadster, it’s instant and easy, but also lively, fun and practical, too. In the Tracer, it’s more useful still. Familiar Yamaha ‘blue-spots’ provide the braking, which are effective and more than up to the job, without being startling.
Expert rating: 5/5

Ride & handling

Nimble, roadster MT-07-derived dynamics allied to reasonable suspension, fat, grippy tyres and an upright riding position makes for great, almost supermoto-style handling.
One of the Tracer’s fortes. Nimble, roadster MT-07-derived dynamics allied to reasonable suspension, fat, grippy tyres and an upright riding position makes for great, almost supermoto-style handling. That’s all calmed down a little thanks to the Tracer’s taller, roomier proportions, which helps make it a great all-rounder. The only criticism, is slightly, very slightly over-soft forks and a lack of adjustment compared to some rivals – that’s the budget nature of the Tracer peeking through.
Expert rating: 4/5

Running costs

The Tracer 700 is probably one of the most affordable all-rounder middleweights around – although not quite as low as the MT-07 from which it’s derived. The low initial purchase price allied to light weight, cheap-ish insurance and an impressively frugal twin-cylinder motor, makes for low day-to-day costs. Bear in mind how it’s ridden, though. Ridden to the full (and many are), will cause consumption of fuel, tyres, brake pads etc., to greatly increase.
Expert rating: 5/5

Reliability

The build quality is much improved on Yamahas of, say, the mid-to-late ‘90s.
There’s been no scare stories regarding the reliability of Yamaha’s new MT-07 family so far. The standard of components is reasonable to good, and build quality is much improved on Yamahas of, say, the mid-to-late ‘90s. However, many are bought by relative novices, so ensure that if you’re buying used, maintenance has been properly carried out.
Expert rating: 4/5

Warranty & servicing

The Tracer 700, as with most bigger Yamahas, has a standard two year/unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty. The service schedule is also fairly standard, with the first (oil and filter) service due at 500 miles, then regular services every 6000 miles after that, alternating between minor (oil, filter, general check over) and major (valve adjustments). However, being a twin and fairly easy to work on means it should be reasonably affordable.
Expert rating: 4/5

Equipment

It mildly impresses.
The MT-07 on which the Tracer 700 is based makes no qualms about being a bare-bones roadster with few frills, so you shouldn’t expect that much with the Tracer, either. That said, it mildly impresses. There’s twin headlamps, a fairing with an adjustable screen, different dual seat with pillion handrails, larger 17-litre fuel tank, 12V accessory power socket and updated and fairly comprehensive instruments, so it’s not at all bad either.
Expert rating: 3/5

Why buy?

As a fun-packed, bang-up-to-date, affordable all-rounder, they don’t currently get much better than the Tracer 700. The twin-cylinder 689cc engine is as irresistible as it was in the MT-07: it’s just as lithe and nimble, yet in Tracer form is much more long-legged and versatile, too. All this makes it a brilliant first big bike or simply a fabulous value all-rounder for anyone.
Expert rating: 4/5

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